The unabashedly handsome and very Lebanese hair stylist, Kimi, is on a personal trajectory towards building his ultimate beauty empire. His final frontier? No less than reaching the pinnacle of the hair styling world in the Middle East.
With much pride, the ever popular Kimi, walks us through the expansion plans for his Zamalek salon, gesticulating wildly as he talks of ‘revolutionary transformations’ and plans to be Cairo’s first in terms of salon space and the variety of services provided in a single venue.
Beyond sparking inspiration while quashing fierce competition in a crowded field, and since launching his own salon Kimi has insisted he was playing for the long game. “I want to reach the top on my own,” he exclaims, as his determination shines through. Perhaps for the first time, the stylist-cum-entrepreneur feels he’s on the verge of becoming what he dreamed of. His proverbial empire is within reach now. “I always felt I was born to stand out,” he says, almost as an after-thought as he browses through pictures that showcase ground plans for the extension of Toi Beauty Salon’s Zamalek branch – an extension that will see the salon’s capacity grow exponentially.
He points to a blueprint, “Here and there, we will have 20 styling chairs. That will make Toi the biggest salon in Cairo,” he explains with enthusiasm pumping through his veins, spilling into his voice. By the end of the year, Toi will be housing a large styling arena spanning two floors, a lavish hair treatment cabin sponsored by Kerastase Egypt, a flagship branch of L’Oreal, and an exclusive Essie nail spa.
As he serves his clients, Kimi is dressed down in his faded blue jeans and black shirt. He maintains his easy style, whether he is mixing together colours for precisely the right shade of blond, building an intricately weaved up-do that will last all night or simply transforming regular hair into a work of art. Kimi’s clientele includes young celebrities, socialites, fashion models and a range of “Instagram-fashionistas” with several thousand followers to their names.
As he sits back in his salon’s mini lounge, Kimi proudly speaks of his signature styles that clients around Egypt now reference. “Toi’s Instagram profile has become a catalogue for Egypt’s most chic to sift through and pick hair styles, colours, and hair-cuts,” he says with a gentle smile and a twinkle in his eye. “I have it on good authority that many clients run over to their personal stylists asking for the styles and cuts I provide. In a way, I have created trends.”
It’s not the voice of someone who boasts, but of someone who is confident, and wants to redefine an industry. Kimi has no illusions. He knows that at the top, competition is perpetually fierce. The realization of how much he’s accomplished is only skin-deep; he keeps the memories of his humble beginnings close and alive.
And perhaps these memories are what propelled him to turn his salon into a hands-on training space for young and budding talent. He helps young talent carve out their space. Already, his salon has conceived a generation of up and coming hair colourists that are not only versed in fundamental techniques but that are becoming forces to be reckoned with.
Kimi is happy to nurture his stylists. “I’m not interested in mere skill. I want my young stylists to learn, early on, to beat the trend.”